In the same way that the access to internet services has increased the consumption of paper, i think the so-called globalization will make the Nation-State more important.
When i say “more important” i mean that the society will aply more energy into the governments and political-apparatus encircling it. More energy, ergo more money, more man-hours, more discussion of the “issues” by the lay-man and so on and so forth.
Now, i do not think that the Nation-State will be as meaningful in the world-of-tomorow as it is now or had been some years past. For example, the Roman Catholic Church today probably has more followers than it did circa 1000 AD, just because there are so much more potential believers (i.e. alive human beings). Nevertheless, the part it plays in human history has gone from primary agent to just an opinion emitter.
So, i do not believe that the Nation-State will disappear, but i do think that it will be a part of an international socio-political landscape where it’s capacity to determine the future will be severely limited. For everyone who chooses to do so — the president and the ministers and all the politicians — the State will continue to be whatever it was, but for the culture, for the “pathfinding of the society”, it will be something taken for granted and not discussed very much.
Now, that was the easy part of the question: “what will happen with the Nation-State?” The hairy part is: “and what is coming next?”
Definitely, more complex forms of organization. After all, nation or religious community or family or race, we are still human beings and the issue is still to figure out how we will behave and in what we will be choosing to believe. Most importantly, how we will manage to behave together, how the whole of us all will be more than just the heap of everyone.
Exactly what i am refering to? Well, a bit of Facebook, a bit of Open Source, a lot of communications technology, but also new philosophies, and a way better sociology and economics. We need to enhance our understanding of the world. A lot.
Tofler speaks of mosaic power structures, where myriad agencies correlate in complicated and unpredictable ways. I guess he is right, but probably the thing will make his metaphors pale by comparison.
And in this regard, i guess Rowan Williams had a fairly good guess indeed. Those questions need careful consideration. We must not rely on any rigid set of rules, but instead be prepared to understand the cutural background in it’s full complexity. And this is a deep, painful, and uncertain path. We must abandon our prejudices, even the most ingrained ones, and it will be difficult. It is possible to make things better, but it is a long road.
I will definitely give more thought to those issues, but now i have an important cultural issue to solve: i gotta go get a beer with a friend i hadn’t met in a long while…
PS.: thanks Baekho.